Puget Sound Transportation Projects
Eastside Link Light Rail
This is the extension of the Seattle/Central Link Light Rail project across I-90 to the cities of Bellevue and Redmond. The extension was passed in November 2007 as part of Sound Transit 2, and should be open by 2023. This extension would tie in with the current Link project just south of downtown, cross Lake Washington using the I-90 floating bridge, then head into Bellevue. An option from there is to extend Link into Redmond, at least as far as Microsoft and possibly all the way into downtown.
This extension should greatly help traffic as it would connect downtown Seattle and the neighborhoods served by Link currently with the major high tech and employment centers in Bellevue and Redmond. It would also allow for cross-connections with the Sounder to Tacoma and Everett, and regional express buses.
With the value of real estate on the Eastside, plus the costs of retrofitting the I-90 bridge to carry light rail, this will be an expensive project. However, it would connect the biggest city in the Puget Sound to the biggest employment centers, and should go far in helping to fix the notorious traffic congestion on I-405 and 520. It is an investment that needs to be made, and the cost will only increase the longer we wait.
Thoughts: Back to Top
One major purpose for this line is to help the commuters coming from the South, such as Tacoma, or the north, such as Everett. When I worked at Microsoft I was considering a relocation to Tacoma and investigated using the Sounder to travel to work and back. The problem is, taking the earliest Sounder, I would have about 10 minutes to catch the bus to Microsoft. Then I could work an 8 hour day, no breaks, not a second longer, before needing to catch the bus back, which would arrive at the Sounder station 10 minutes before the last train left. Given how bad traffic can be here, and how it can change in a second if there is an accident or inclement weather, this was an unacceptable risk. However, with a transfer to an Eastside Link, this would become feasible. And if so, many of the cars that currently clog I-405 coming from the North and South would disappear..
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Map: © Sound Transit